Yesterday the Conservative and Liberal candidates for Edgbaston at the General Election, and the constituency’s Labour MP, were on the BBC’s Politics Show. This was followed today by a much longer discussion between the 3 of us on Lunch with Ed Doolan on Radio WM.
During the discussion on housing in Edgbaston, the MP mentioned HLBs (Housing Liaison Boards) but said that these kind of democratic structures “aren’t there any more”. I am sure that was a surprise to several people who I happen to know were listening since they are members of one of the HLBs in Edgbaston!
I have blogged about HLBs before on this site, and on December 10th 2007, I wrote about the city’s HLBs celebrating their 15th birthday with a party at the Council House. Both the Lord Mayor and the Cabinet member for Housing, Bartley Green Councillor John Lines, were present and a birthday cake was brought into the room accompanied by a piper.
This evening I have been contacted by the recently retired Chairman of the City HLB (who also heard this morning’s programme) who points out that there are currently 33 HLBs operating in the city, made up of over 600 unpaid volunteers city wide who are making an outstanding contribution to housing in this city. The 33 HLBs include one in each of the 4 wards in the Edgbaston Constituency. The picture on this blog post is of me with some of the members of Edgbaston Ward’s HLB, whose last meeting was only two weeks ago on Monday Feb 8th.
Believe me, they ARE still there! They do exist! No matter what you might have heard on the radio. If you want to hear the discussion for yourself, it’s on the Radio WM website today. Go to Lunch with Ed Doolan, listen again, and it’s about 15 minutes into the programme.